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Huawei launches Ascend P1 and P1 S – Hands-on with “World’s slimmest smartphone”

Twin handsets offer Android 4.0 and Super AMOLED screens

Chinese mobile technology manufacturer Huawei has taken the wraps off two new premium Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphones – the P1 and the ultra-slim P1 S, which at 6.68mm thick is even slimmer than Motorlola’s new RAZR.

Huawei Ascend main inline

Even the thicker P1 is no fatty, at just 7.69mm. Interestingly, due to the extra strengthening necessary to make such a slim body, the P1 S is heavier than the P1, at 130g compared to 110g. They’re both good-looking handsets, and feel like a quality item in the hand.

Huawei Ascend P1 versus Ascend P1 S

The P1 S is definitely slimmer, but the size difference is hard to spot at first

Size aside, the phones are identical. Huawei has gone all out on the specifications; these are the first smartphones we’ve seen with 1.5GHz dual-core processors. You also get a 4.3-inch 960 x 540-pixel Super AMOLED touchscreen made of the obligatory scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass. It’s a great screen; bright with vibrant colours and deep contrast, which made 720p videos look fantastic. You also get two cameras – an 8-megapixel sensor on the rear and a 1.3-megapixel model for video-calling.

Huawei Ascend P1 video

Videos look great on the Super AMOLED screen

The models on show at CES seemed to be running an almost-stock version of Android 4.0. Huawei claims there will be more customisations when the devices launch but the models on show had the company’s 3D homescreen app, where homescreens rotate as if on a carousel. It looked pretty, but was jerky in places. The same was true of the operating system as a whole – it was generally smooth, but had occasional bouts of lag. Hopefully the Android build will be optimised by the time the handsets go on sale.

Huawei claims the P1 and P1 S will be available worldwide from April, but there is no solid pricing information as yet. However, the company was keen to stress the premium nature of the handsets, and hinted that they will go head to head with high-end phones from other manufacturers. We’ll take a guess at £500 SIM-free or free on a £30-per-month contract.

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